Dr. Katie Savin


SOCW 223: Practice-Informed Research in Health Sciences

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Individuals experiencing homelessness in Stockton, California face many obstacles and barriers to obtain housing. It was our goal to gain a deeper understanding of individuals experiencing homelessness who were diagnosed with at least one chronic condition like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and/or pulmonary disease. We wanted to gain insight as to how these challenges impacted the likelihood that individuals would be rehospitalized. With our findings, we hope to shed light on a larger epidemic of homelessness and adequately show themes and patterns of these vulnerable populations to provide a basis where community members, leaders, and stakeholders can approach the findings by utilizing alternative ways to advocate for them and inquire about additional social services that are culturally sensitive and adaptive to their needs. Focusing on these barriers with community members, leaders, and stakeholders is meant to increase awareness and provide a basis for adequate programs and preventative measures to be practiced.


An interview study guide was utilized to conduct conversations with individuals experiencing homelessness, who are diagnosed with at least one chronic condition and have been rehospitalized at least once in the previous year. A total of eight adult male individuals were interviewed at a facility that primarily serves individuals experiencing homelessness in Stockton, California.

Findings & Conclusions

Four key themes emerged from the findings including 1) housing instability, 2) well-being and access to healthcare, 3) history of substance use, and 4) financial stress. Prior housing before last participants' hospitalization were at homeless shelters, apartment/house, motor vehicle or on the streets. Only one individual identified they had plans to go to apartment living that was partially funded by the Veterans Administration but four participants were not able to go back to their living situation prior to hospitalization due to loss of employment or unable to afford rent because of lack of source of income. Common barriers and needs individuals identified as reasons for caring for their health include their legal status, lack of transportation, financial stress, housing difficulties, and no medical insurance. All participants we interviewed stated they had minimal or no family and/or social support and spoke about their feelings of isolation.


Based on our findings, our recommendations include:

  • Providing a bridge program that will connect individuals experiencing homelessness who are being released from the hospital to housing services.
  • Community-based programs that would provide a connection with a mentor who has experienced homelessness for the purpose of providing social support.
  • Universal-based income program that would provide a guaranteed income to individuals who are experiencing homelessness to meet their basic needs, such as being able to afford housing and healthy foods.